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Trust to introduce tracking wristbands

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Patients will soon be wearing wristbands to identify their location and track infection risk at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS trust.

The trust has launched a new computer system this month which identifies patients who have or are suspected of having MRSA or C.Difficile and alerts staff to the wards and beds these patients have had contact with allowing them to close these down within a matter of minutes.

Director of nursing at the trust Gill Harris said that previously the hospital has used a paper based infection control information system which meant that it took 'hours' to alert staff to infected wards, areas or equipment used by the patient.

Ms Harris added that the new system enabled nursing staff decide quickly which patients needed to be moved to side rooms to reduce the risk of cross infection.

'One of my big frustrations is that we do not have enough side rooms for patients, they operate at 90 per cent plus capacity and there is always a queue of patients we need to put into them, before the system was introduced it was difficult to prioritise who to move to a side room but now I can prioritise bacteraemia patients over care of dying patients going into side rooms,' she said.

All inpatients at the hospital will also be tagged with wristbands linked to the IT system which give detailed information about the patient's infection status and allows them to track their movement around the hospital through a wireless signalling system similar to wireless broadband.

Ms Harris admitted that implementing the new system meant a 'massive change in culture' amongst the staff but that they had been involved in developing and shaping the system from the outset and were now actively using it.

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